A shirt with the slogan “got papers?” featuring the silhouette of a family fleeing caused outrage in Port Arthur, Texas. The T-shirt leaves nothing to the imagination and would only be worn by someone who delights in interrogating the immigration status of others.
The Ebony Mart on Gulfway Drive, where the t-shirt is sold, is a hot spot for Latinx families in Port Arthur.
“A lot of friends, family, everybody know this store. I knew this store since I was a baby,” Kathy Delarosa told KFDM News she visits the store two or three times a week.
The 21-year-old was a loyal customer so when she visited Ebony Mart and saw the t-shirt in person, she was naturally upset.
“I don’t think it’s really nice to have for the store because a lot of Hispanics will get offended. I don’t think they should sell it at all,” she said.
The Port Arthur Latinx community is not happy with Ebony Mart.
Needless to say, seeing the t-shirt in their community did not make Latinx residents feel at home or welcome. The Port Arthur members felt like it was a slap in the face to immigrants.
The owner, whose identity has not been revealed, claimed that she did not know the t-shirt was a part of a store order, according to KFDM. When KFDM spoke with the owner over the phone she said she no longer sold the shirts, instructed her manager to remove all of them from the racks, and extended an apology to the immigrant community.
A candidate for Port Arthur City Council, Armando Ruiz, was not happy with the t-shirt either.
“That’s outrageous,” said Ruiz. “That’s crazy. How a store would put out that type of product out there to sell. This is where I used to buy my uniforms, back when I went to school seven years ago. So this store is frequented a lot. It’s in a predominantly Hispanic area. A lot of Hispanics do come to this store.”
Political and offensive t-shirts appear to be a trend in the Trump era.
T-shirts seemingly geared toward Trump supporters have been making the rounds, many of them have been singled out as offensive. Extrapolate what you will with regards to what that says about fans of the president. Just this week Bloomingdales was forced to remove a t-shirt that said one of Trump’s favorite phrases “Fake News.”
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention, and we apologize for any offense we may have caused. We take this feedback very seriously and are working quickly to remove this t-shirt. Again, thank you for taking the time to alert us,” the brand said in a statement.
However, Pamela Wood s Baltimore journalist was not satisfied with the response saying, “Apologizing ‘for any offense we may have caused’ is not a sincere apology. This is not about journalists’ hurt feelings. This is about damage done to our democracy when your brand joins in perpetuating and celebrating the idea of “fake news.” Please try again.”
Port Arthur Residents feel business owners should be mindful of who they are selling to.
Texas is one of the most diverse states with Houston being the most diverse city in the country. Port Arthur is multicultural as well with Blacks making up 41 percent of the population, Whites 37 percent, and Latinx-identifying folks making up 29.6 percent of the population according to 2010 Census data.
“When I saw the shirt, it is very offensive,” said Henry Jones III. “You have different ethnic groups in this area. In Southeast Texas, you have to be very careful what type of product you put out because you don’t want to offend people especially with something of that sort.”
Ruiz echoed Jones’ sentiment saying business owners need to be mindful of the communities they are representing.
“They should look at the product before they put it out there to sell for the community,” said Ruiz. “They do need to look around their surroundings and see what type of people live in their community and check out what type of product they can have and can’t have.”
An unnamed UPS delivery driver has been fired after being caught using racist language when delivering a package to a Latino household. The incident occurred on December 17th.
The video, which was caught on a doorbell camera’s security footage, shows a white UPS driver appearing to be angry when delivering a package.
“Now you don’t get f—–g nothing…You can’t read and write and speak the f—–g English language,” he says while writing a “failed to deliver” notice and pasting it on the house’s front door.
The Aviles family says that the footage shows that the UPS worker never even attempted to deliver the package in the first place. He never rang the doorbell or knocked on the door. Based on that, the family has come to the conclusion that the driver intentionally withheld the package from the family out of prejudice and spite
They believe that the only way the driver could’ve known that the family was Latino was by making assumptions based off the name on the package.
“The only information this driver had that could serve as a trigger for this deep-seated hate was the name on the package,” said Forward Latino President Darryl Morin at a press conference addressing the incident.
“So what we have here is a very intentional act to ruin Christmas for somebody, for someone to spew this hateful rhetoric, and quite honestly to deceive their employer,” Morin continued.
Per UPS, the employee has now been fired. “There is no place in any community for racism, bigotry or hate. This is very serious and we promptly took action, terminating the driver’s employment. UPS is wholeheartedly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” UPS said in a statement. They also said they contacted the family to apologize.
But the Aviles family is still rattled that such bigoted people are out and about, letting their petty prejudices effect other people’s lives.
“The package was a Christmas gift that we eventually received after Christmas Day, but what if it happened to have time-sensitive content like an epipen or a book I needed to take a final,” said Shirley Aviles, the mother of the man who lives at the address, told NBC News. “I don’t get it. It’s just sad.”
Aviles seemed disturbed about what this incident says about human nature. “This is about the things people do when they think no one is watching them. That’s important because that’s when you see people’s true colors and that’s what’s scary,”
A 22-year-old woman is getting a major lesson on how being Latino does not automatically grant you asylum when it comes to being racist.
Miya Ponsetto gained national attention and managed to distract everyone from their holiday break this past week when her racist behavior was captured on video. In an incident posted to Instagram the day after Christmas, Ponsetto could be seen attacking the 14-year-old son of trumpeter Keyon Harrold after falsely accusing him of stealing her iPhone.
Miya Ponsetto was taken into custody on a warrant from New York after a brief car chase with police in California.
According to New York Daily News police used physical force to restrain Ponsetto. “They had to pull her out of the car. They did use physical force,” Eric Buschow, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department explained. “She tried to slam the door on the leg of one of our deputies and so she was forcibly removed from the vehicle.”
Two officers with NYPD’s Manhattan South detective bureau were sent to California on Wednesday to work with LA police to find Ponsetto, question her and convince her to return to New York with them.
“I have no clue if she’s in custody. I had a difficult day with her. We had an interview lined up, and within 10 to 15 minutes, I realized she was not well, not mentally fit to do any interviews,” Ponsetto’s lawyer, Sharen Ghatan said “So I’m not surprised this has happened if she’s in custody. I haven’t heard it. She was very much MIA for a while, and when she finally came to the big interview, it was clear to me she shouldn’t be there. I’m concerned for her wellbeing.”
Video of Miya Ponsetto fighting with cops during a DUI arrest weeks before her assault of Keyon Harrold, Jr. has surfaced.
In the video of the incident that took place on Oct. 3 outside of a Chevron gas station. Ponsetto can be seen acting out against police officers attempting to detain her after confirming she was intoxicated. Ponsetto’s mom, Nicole Ponsetto, can also be seen.
In the video, Ponsetto resists the efforta of an officer to place her in cuffs.
“I’m not even touching you,” she screams. “You are asking for literally a lawsuit. I didn’t do anything to you.”
“I just think you guys are like a joke,” Ponsetto says at one point while pinned to the ground. “There are gang members that are killing people right now and you’re arresting a girl?”
In a virtual interview with CBS This Morning host Gayle King that took place hours before her arrest, Miya Ponsetto wore a Daddy hat.
During an interview, which her lawyer sat in on, Ponsetto told Gayle King, “I admit, I could have approached the situation differently, or maybe not yelled at him like that or made him feel … inferior, or like I was hurting his feelings.”
Later, as King pressed Ponsetto to admit she had grossly misbehaved, Ponsetto insisted she was just. girl. “OK, so basically I’m a 22-year-old girl. Racism, uh, is … how is one girl accusing a guy about a phone a crime?” Eventually she snapped at Gayle’s questioning saying “alright Gayle, enough!” She even flounced a hand at Gayle while her lawyer attempted to get her to reel it in.
No doubt, Ponsetto’s decision to wear a hat with slang referring to the authority of a man was poorly made. It was also extremely disrespectful considering that she did so knowing that she would be in the presence of a well-known and respected Black journalist who had offered her a chance to redeem herself with an interview. Ponsetto’s hat proves to be a representation of her character: a privileged woman, making no attempts to endear herself to a woman of color who worked hard to get where she is despite the many ways the world has tried to hold her back.
In response to her interview, the 14-year-old Keyon Harrold, Jr.’s parents say they don’t buy her apology one bit.
Speaking to CBS This Morning host Gayle King in a later interview Keyon Harrold, Sr. explained that he felt “her apology was, you know, as genuine as when she shushed you. It said a lot. I have an issue with the idea of entitlement versus character.”
“‘I apologize. Can we move on?’ Those were the exact words that she used with you,” Kat Rodriguez, Keyon’s mother, said in another interview. “Does that sound like an apology? She knew she assaulted a 14-year-old boy. Not a guy, not a man.”
The incident took place at the Arlo SoHo boutique hotel where Harrold and his son were guests at the hotel located in lower Manhattan. In the video, Ponsetto can be seen confronting Harrold and his son with accusations of theft. In the post to Instagram, Harrold explained that he and his son had left their room in the hotel to get breakfast and had just left the elevator when the woman confronted them. In the video, Ponsetto could be seen and heard demanding Harrold’s son, Keyon Harrold Jr., to show her his phone.
In response, Harrold Jr. told Ponsetto “this is my phone” to which his father told him that he did not have to explain himself to the woman. Ponsetto then came closer and demanded to an interviewing hotel guest that the case be taken off the phone.
“Literally get it back for me, please,” Ponsetto says in the video to the manager who then asked the teen to see the phone before his father could intervene. “I’m trying to settle this situation,” the manager claimed in the video, to which Harrold explained he was only making it worse.
After Harrold and his son attempt to leave the situation the woman followed after them saying, “I’m not letting him walk away with my phone.”
Security footage shows her tackling Harrold Jr. to the ground. When she approaches them again the teen’s father shouts for her to get her hands off of his son before the video cuts out.
In his post to Instagram, Harrold claimed that Ponsetto scratched him and grabbed his son. Harrold later told NBC that after the video cut off, Ponsetto, “tackled my son, you know, trying to reach in his pockets, reach in my pockets.”
According to NYPD, moments after the incident, Ponsetto’s phone was returned to her at the hotel by a ride-share vehicle she used.
Harrold told NYPD that he suffered slight injuries but his son was not injured.
“I don’t know what would have happened if my Dad wasn’t there, honestly,” Harrold Jr. explained before stating that if ever presented with an opportunity to speak to Ponsetto, he’d want an apology.
Speaking about the incident at a rally, Harrold noted that the entire incident was emotionally damaging for his son and could have become even worse had he not been with his son when it all occurred. “I want my son to grow up whole. That’s all we want. … I come from Ferguson and this has been my passport to the world,” Harrold explained, referring to his trumpet and the doors his career in music has opened for him. Harold has played at the White House, and contributed to recordings by JAY-Z, Beyoncé, Anthony Hamilton, Mary J. Blige, and Maxwell. “And I can’t even come downstairs in New York City … and just go get brunch without being attacked and wrongfully accused of something.”
Harrold Jr.’s mother, Kat Rodriguez, also noted that hotel management was culpable in the incident after failing to de-escalate the situation as well as for allowing Ponsetto to leave the scene before police arrived. She also demanded that Ponsetto be charged with assault.
“This fight is not only for our son. It’s for all of our sons and daughters,” Rodriguez explained. “If we were a family that didn’t have these connections … if I was a maid, this story wouldn’t have hit the news. What about those people that don’t get to get heard?”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke out about the incident last Thursday and remarked that the woman should face charges. “You have a teenager here who did nothing wrong, who was clearly profiled because he was young and male and Black,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on New Day. “That is racism pure and simple, that is unacceptable in this city, in this country.”
Keyon Harrold Jr. is now seeking therapy for the incident. Harrold told TMZ recently that his son “wonders if he’s good enough to own an iPhone, or whether he’s out of place at a nice hotel.”
Ponsetto has since disputed the accusations against her using her ethnicity as a defense.
The NYPD is currently attempting to track Ponsetto down for assaulting Harrold Jr. On Jan. 1, the New York Post confronted Ponsetto in a video and asked her about the incident to which Ponsetto replied “I don’t know what the problem is here,” she replied.
When asked once again if she had any regrets about the incident, Ponsetto replied, “I’m good, thank you. Have a very good day. Take care of yourself.” “I’m actually 22 so I don’t know what the problem is here,” she added again. “And I’m also Puerto Rican so thank you. Take care of yourself.”
In a statement, about the incident, Arlo Hotels agreed that “more could have been done to de-escalate the dispute.”
“We’re deeply disheartened about the recent incident of baseless accusation, prejudice, and assault against an innocent guest of Arlo hotel,” the statement said. “In investigating the incident further, we’ve learned that the manager on duty promptly called the police regarding the woman’s conduct and that hotel security intervened to prevent further violence …. No Arlo guest — or any person — should be subject to this kind of behavior.”